Tags Black parents
Tag: Black parents
This is part of an ongoing series, “Learning while Black: The fight for equity in San Francisco schools,” being broadcast on KALW’s Crosscurrents. African American students across the country are much more likely than any other student group to be placed in special education, and that’s true at San Francisco Unified too. The district’s troubled history has plenty to teach us about what is and isn’t working for Black students with special needs today.
Have you heard of the IEP? Well, it’s shorthand for special education. It is a program that is eating Black children, boys and girls at an alarming rate. Though it sounds benign and helpful, if too many of the children are Black, then there is a problem. It is a form of tracking; and any program that targets our children, puts them in a classroom where they are stigmatized by the larger student population (when they find out), is wrong.
How can a group have over 3 million people with college degrees yet be so underdeveloped economically? How can a people have over 10,000 elected officials yet have so little economic power? Why do African Americans spend only 3 percent of their income with each other? Could that explain why only 9 out of every one thousand African Americans start a business, while other groups are above 100?
Today, like far too many days, another unarmed Black male was killed by a white police officer who felt threatened by and most likely didn’t see the value in a Black life. It makes no difference that this child or man may have broken the law because that hasn’t been proven. It does matter that this so-called “peace officer” decided that that Black male was guilty when he saw he was Black.
An Ohio grand jury has declined to indict the white police officer who fatally shot John Crawford, a 22-year-old African American, who was killed inside a Wal-Mart store last month after a caller phoned police to accuse him of brandishing a gun. In fact, Crawford had picked up an unloaded BB air rifle on a shelf, an item that is sold in the store. Newly released surveillance footage shows major discrepancies between a 911 caller’s account and what really happened.
Having a child with autism who receives special education in public school is a challenge. It can be more difficult for parents of low income, as is my circumstance. I’ve tried different routes to navigate a very difficult and, at times, confusing system. The myriad of acronyms and policy to be familiar with are overwhelming and it can feel as if you are alone in the process – your family against your school district.
For many in the African American community, especially those who are between poverty and middle class, autism is unfamiliar. We aren’t quite sure what kind of delay that means in our children. Does it mean they are dumb? Does it mean they won’t talk ever in life? Will they be sitting in the corner for decades, fascinated by the shiny object on the ceiling? Will they have friends of their own? Will they be independent?